February 2008 Archives

Movement in Egypt: Soccer and Dance

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Last month Karen's post described Seacology's ten new island projects. Among these, Egypt represents a new geographic location for Seacology. Well-known for its ancient pyramids and rich cultural history, Egypt also boasts a successful soccer team and alluring belly dance.

Egypt Soccer.jpgAs with most non-American countries, Egypt's most-watched sport is football--soccer to us Americans. This month Egypt's soccer team, the Pharaohs, won its record sixth Africa Cup of Nations and its second consecutive title. A crowd of 35,500 and no doubt countless fans all over the continent tuned in to watch the dominant Pharaohs edge the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon 1-0. Steve Vickers of BBC Sport notes that coach Hassan Shehata is only the second coach to win successive cups.

At left are Egypt's Mohammed Said and Cameroon's Gilles Binya.

Middle Eastern dance, more commonly referred to as belly dancing, incorporates movements of the hips, torso, and arms to communicate the dancer's emotions and reactions to the music.

mhcolor.GIFSeacology Field Representative Simon Ellis and project leader Frankie Harriss sent us some wonderful photos and a report from the Ailuk Community, Marshall Islands. The Ailuk Community established a 160-acre marine protected area and a 55-acre terrestrial/marine protected area for a period of ten years.

In exchange, Seacology funded the construction of a solar-powered airport terminal and guest lodge. The project began in July 2007. In spite of some setbacks due to a lack of shipping options for materials to this remote area, the construction phase of the project was completed in January 2008 (photo of building under construction and completed below).

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I used to have a tropical fish aquarium. Fresh water - I always found salt water aquariums absolutely beautiful but was intimidated by the amount of work they seemed to require. Not only did I keep this 20 gallon aquarium, I transported it across numerous state lines - with the fish kept "securely" in a big ice chest filled with a few inches of water. Some of my fish moved from Florida to Arizona (2 different locations) and then to California. These trips were quite an ordeal - and not only caused my fish stress, but made me a nervous wreck as well. Keeping those fish alive during the multi-day car trip from Florida to Arizona, as you can imagine, was difficult. And as I have an affinity for ALL animals, letting "just a fish" die, wasn't something I could bear.

Movies, Monsters and a Mongoose

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In pondering my path to Seacology, I thought about my first venture to a tropical island. It was a month spent on St. Croix in the Caribbean in 1977. I was working for an entertainment company training exotic animals for the movie The Island of Dr. Moreau, starring Burt Lancaster (a living legend in one of his last movies) and Michael York (a fine actor and really nice guy). Based on the novel by H.G. Wells, the sci-fi monster movie was filmed on a spectacular swath of the island privately owned by and leased from the Rockefeller family.

To bring in tigers, lions, bears, and various other exotic animals to the island was an enormous undertaking. We set up a compound in the lush forest about a quarter mile from the beach, where the weather made everyone happy. Since the property was guarded and very secluded, we frequently took the animals for long beach walks ending in a riotous swim in the bath water sea. Paradise, right?